The 2 week Itch
Everyone warned us that 2 weeks home and we would be done... That we’d be annoyed with modern society and itching to return to the bus. Maybe because we’re twice as slow as everyone else, but it currently seems like that might take a few more weeks?? Certainly we struggle with some things. Every meal or happy hour with friends is a reminder of how expensive things are north of the border. The traffic and speed at which things move is nothing short of mind-boggling compared to the speed at which we’ve lived the last 10months. Shopping- whether it be in a supermarket or (cringe) a mall, is simply painful compared to buying produce out of the back of a truck. But past that, we are loving being here. Luckily, we live in a city where people actually treat one another well and everyone is accepting of those around them just like in mexico and central america...we’ll call that a wash. We also walk almost everywhere we go now (and again are in a city where that's possible), so speed is merely something going on around us not something we have to get involved in unless we’re crossing the street.
And the weather? Ah, the weather. There is truly no more perfect place to be (in or near summertime) than Portland. It’s never too hot or too cold and you know you’ve got several months before the grayness and the rains return. As a result, everyone spends as much time as they can outdoors. Laying in the park, walking through the neighborhoods or sitting on the patio enjoying a beer in the sun. It’s truly Portland at its finest. There’s a reason that portland is the city where 25 year olds go to retire.
While we sit with friends in the sun watching people go by carrying their smiles and 6packs it hits us- that we really do love it here. After so much time away (and so many people telling us how they also want to run away) it seems odd to say it. Somehow it feels like were breaking some silent code, but we are truly happy here. That doesn’t mean we can’t or don’t love it somewhere else too, and that's the beauty. We don’t have to choose. At least not yet... and maybe never.
For now, we are enjoying knowing that if we live cheaply we dont have to return to jobs right away. It’s the peaceful result of years of hard work and savings before we left, and if we choose to we can simply enjoy summer here and then return to the bus in the fall and continue our trip. Well played Dangerz, well played.
It’s fun and rewarding to live here with a new outlook. The challenge for us has never been about running away and never coming back. The challenge is, and has always been- to adapt. To find a way to stretch our minds to see what we can do differently every day and how we can connect the two worlds. To live freely and enjoyably every day wherever we are, and hopefully still have the ability to go and explore new places when we want to.
We have always known that we have no desire to live in a van every day (forever) but we also have no intent on returning to the painfully stressed lifestyle we lived before. Both worlds have their stresses and problems, and both are hard work- in completely different ways. Being here right now, without the stresses of money feels just as much like a vacation as any day we spent on the road. But we also know that cant and wont last forever. We are well aware that our savings is still dwindling and we must at some point come up with a plan.
There is certainly something attractive about that piece of land in mexico, about building a home and a business from scratch and making it ours. But in reality, the financial stress of doing so (and the resulting day-to-day grind) is likely no better than what we had before leaving. Maybe there’s still a better option out there.
We’ve also begun to realize that we may not want to return to the same beach each year, no matter how sunny and perfect that beach is. We likely want to explore and see new places and things, at least for the foreseeable future. Part of what we’ve really enjoyed about the last few years has been our nomadic nature. It’s simply the fact that we did so at the expense of home that were trying to resolve.
We still find ourselves trying to visualize (and create) a life where we live more modestly. On the road that was easy, we couldn't have things because they simply didn't fit. Here its more of a challenge, but were trying to live minimally and without the weight that comes with rooms and rooms full of stuff and the need for large paychecks to pay for it all. Were trying to avoid buying anything new and find ways of reusing/recycling the things that we need.
And of course, were still looking for that magic answer- to find what we truly have passion for and find a way to fill a large portion of each day doing that. Sure, we still need to make money, but i’m now convinced that doesn’t have to be all consuming. When we left i couldn’t see any other option than the one we were living, but now it seems that options are all around us- both for money and for happiness. The money part might just take a bit more imagination and creativity.
Perspective is definitely worth the price of admission.